Title: Instead of You
Author: Anie Michaels
Genre: New Adult, Student/Teacher Romance
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Cory was my best friend, the boy who I’d resolved to spend my entire life with. I’d grown to love him, gotten used to the idea of our life together, even if it wasn’t the all-encompassing, soul-crushing, heart-shattering romance it appeared to be.
Hayes was the boy who seemed entirely out of reach. Untouchable. He stole my first kiss, a secret I’d hidden away in the recesses of my heart, protecting the memory and hoping it would be enough to last me a lifetime. When he became my history teacher, it was impossible to hide from him any longer.
There was no way to anticipate just how important both Wallace brothers would become to me, how deeply they would change my life, or how the loss of one would propel me into the arms of the other.
Once again, Anie Michaels has managed to rip me open and stomp on my heart with her breathtaking novel, Instead of You. This book delivers a heartbreaking and beautiful student/teacher romance that will make you think and inspire you to feel. Instead of You is perfect for both fans of taboo romance and those who prefer more traditional relationships. While there is a forbidden component to this story, it is fresh and unconventional in a way that gives McKenzie and Hayes’ story mass appeal. Anie Michaels explores love in all of its forms, effortlessly portraying not only familial and romantic love, but the kind of emotion that turns friends into family and lovers into soulmates. That deep, burning, irrevocable magic poured from this novel, lingering long after the final page had been turned. Each relationship explored contributed to the overall story in a significant way and by the end of the book I was totally enamored with every connection that Anie Michaels had created.
“You were here, and you were safe, and even though I’d lost so much, I hadn’t lost everything.”
Instead of You certainly doesn’t pull any punches and Anie Michaels didn’t hesitate to put the main characters (and her lucky readers) through the wringer. McKenzie and Hayes must face their incredibly confusing feelings when an unexpected tragedy leaves them both completely devastated. Lost in grief and confused by their feelings, both characters underwent huge transformations over the course of this novel. I absolutely adored the way Anie Michaels developed McKenzie. While her indecisiveness and constantly changing emotions may have been frustrating at times, it was this sense of being at a total loss as to what was right that made this character so heartbreakingly genuine. McKenzie’s youth and grief came through loud and clear in her voice, making the overall growth of this character that much more significant and solidifying my deep connection with her.
“Healthy relationships aren’t born from death, they don’t blossom in the dark, and they don’t flourish while being hidden.”
The plot of this novel was so much more than I had expected. Not only is it heartfelt, angsty, intelligent, and witty, but Anie Michaels also provides just the right amount of steam and flirtatious banter to keep readers smiling through the heartache. A handful of secondary characters filled out this novel, adding depth, color, and some much needed levity to this book. I found myself captivated by Anie Michaels’ fictional world, completely caught up in both McKenzie’s immature, drama-filled high school life and Hayes’ all too real home situation. McKenzie’s story is one of love, loss, and moving on – a heart wrenching coming of age journey that will leave your head reeling from the emotional turmoil and devastating grief residing within the pages of this novel. Somehow, when all was said and done, my heart found its way home and I was left content and incredibly hopeful. Anie Michaels has a true talent for turning the quiet curses of tragedy into soft whispers of hope and Instead of You is a shining example. Anie’s words are a balm to the soul, expertly soothing the ache she creates with her angst-ridden stories.
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Anie Michaels is the author of The Never series, The Private Serials, and a stand alone novel, The Space Between Us. She started writing her first novel in June 2013. When she is not working, reading, writing, or spending time with her family, you can find her spending time with her close friends. Anie lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family.
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3 Signed Paperbacks of Instead of You (U.S. Only)